View Full Version : Street Chalk Festival in San Francisco

03-20-2003, 09:24 PM
Hi there,
In September, 2001 there was a wonderful street chalk competition in our city that I thought I'd photograph. I never knew who would appreciate this as much as I did until I started coming onto WC.

Whenever you think working too small or too big is daunting, look at these and you'll be happy with what you've done.

Each artist had 3 days to complete this and each one was 9 feet x 9 feet square - no smaller. You had to complete the entire image.









more but I'll only post these so Scott doesn't kill me.



03-21-2003, 12:38 AM
I would love to have seen this. I guess they were only temporary or can they seal that to keep them?

03-21-2003, 12:46 AM
Wow Barb! - I thought I was doing well to finish my 17" square flower in 2 days! Thanks for sharing :D


03-21-2003, 03:01 AM
these are wonderful Barb...... all excellent...... my first thoughts lol being from England is ......what if It rained...... please dont tell me they wash them away. .... would break my heart :crying: .... what happens at the end

lol to ME ..... BIG is 14 x 16" hee hee hee

03-21-2003, 03:10 AM
Yeah, in England we'll have to do this indoors, I suppose.....:D

These are really great. I wish I had seen it! This is certainly not your average kid chalking on the pavement!

You got more pic's?

Mikki Petersen
03-21-2003, 04:26 AM
Outstanding photos, Barb! What a great event that must have been. What a challenge for those artists. I cannot believe what beautiful work was created on the sidewalk! Thanks for sharing.

03-21-2003, 04:26 AM
LOL Dawn those were exactly my thoughts. Thanks for sharing these, Barb, they're great. I'm not quite sure why the woman in the second painting is wearing cellophane :D but wow, it's a jaw-dropping piece of work!

03-21-2003, 05:18 AM
Thanks for sharing these... i can't even imagine working that size, i wonder were they practice?

03-21-2003, 06:47 AM

Don't worry about posting all the images. At one time, it was a problem to post more than three images per thread, but now Scott has purchased more space for us, and it doesn't matter. Yeah Scott!

03-21-2003, 07:07 AM
WOW!!!! Fantastic stuff! Thank you so much for sharing them with us...I've seen pavement art before but never as good as these people!!
Man what a waste that they would be washed away...God has truly blessed those people with wonderful talent,
Mia :cat:

Mayet Ankh
03-21-2003, 07:46 AM
Wow! How exciting! It reminds me of those people who build elaborate sculptures from sand. Expending an enormous amount of talent only to have them washed away in the end :(

03-21-2003, 08:36 AM
That always looks fun to me! There's an annual one near here too and I've always been tempted to do it, but it's just too hot! Those look great!:)

03-21-2003, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by Mayet Ankh
Wow! How exciting! It reminds me of those people who build elaborate sculptures from sand. Expending an enormous amount of talent only to have them washed away in the end :(

Wahhhhh :crying: .. I dont know how they can let that happen...... Id have to make mine out of Sand & Cement!!


03-21-2003, 12:10 PM
I didn't have the heart to see when they wash them away at the end of the event. In fact the day I was there it was threatening rain but they just kept going - it's a competition.

the second woman is a woman beneath the water in a swimming pool - phenomenal and I'll try to attach it so you can see a better image.

If you decide to do this - line up a good back massagist. They were all working on cardboard or foam padding for their knees but to be hunched over for that many hours was terrifically painful.

And yet - how nice a job they did.

Now that I know there is interest, I'll post some more photos.


03-21-2003, 12:41 PM








More coming

03-21-2003, 12:49 PM
Ohhh these are fantastic ..... thanks for showing them Barb ..... still breaks my heart to think all this beautiful work being washed away...... Id have to pull up the paving slabs hee hee

03-21-2003, 01:00 PM
Dawn, I know what you mean. That's why I had to photograph them.

What's also interesting is that the organization who coordinates this only gives them 2 boxes of pastels that are so limited in color that the artists have to buy their own for this work. In some of them you will see lots of charcoal as they can't afford to buy pastels.


more? I have them

03-21-2003, 01:13 PM
I think there should be a law passed lolol ..... that the organisation should seal these paintings... they are sooooo fantastic

.... cor wot aload of tight A*ses :mad: :eek: :p :o :D :crying: :rolleyes: ;) :evil:

... ok... explain again...... WHY do the artists DO this?
..... and What why do the organisations.... bodies do it

.... lol Im actually getting angry hee hee heee.... I really cant believe they let it all just wash away.... you would think some big organisation would offer to buy the pavings and have them shown in their building receptions or something :)

.... start a petition hee hee...... I'll sign (that should scare them :) )

... how often do they do this?

03-21-2003, 01:29 PM
It's my understanding that they do this annually in both San Francisco and San Rafael California. I'm not sure of what others are done nor how often this one is coordinated.

You may have noticed a lot of Red, White and Blue in this one since the event occurred just after 9/11.

Some of these artists do this professionally and offered me postcards with their names and contact information on them. some had portfolios.

I'm sure they have them in London (perhaps indoors) but you should check them out.


There are more but I'll end with this one. Bev - I think it has your name on it... painting in white.


Mikki Petersen
03-21-2003, 01:31 PM
OMG - I can't believe how intricate and exceptionally innnovative these artists are. And it certainly speaks to the outstanding qualities of pastel that the colors are so rich and vibrant. I can't imagine the COST of all that pigment! The sidewalk would eat up whole sticks of pastel in single swipes. Does the organization at least post a photo journal commemorating these works? Thank you so much for having the goos sense to capture this work on film and for sharing it with us here. It is very inspirational.

03-21-2003, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by bnoonan
I'm sure they have them in London (perhaps indoors) but you should check them out.

... yup there is outdoors.. weather permitting :) .... come to think of it.... not rained where I am in ages .... Ive never seen so many together though, nor on a grand scale as this ...... well come to think of it... t'would be hard lol... our pavements aren't this big :cool: hee hee

03-21-2003, 02:19 PM
Thanks for sharing these Barb, the work these artists produce is amazing....we have a similar thing from time to time in the centre of our city, but not on sucgh a grand a scale as this.. the last time the artists were all painting from the old masters...I was fascinated not only with their skills but how they scaled up the work from just a small poster.....each one had a box near by them whereby people could toss in a coin or two.... another form of busking I suppose.....sadly the paintings don't last.


Katherine J
03-21-2003, 10:28 PM
Holy smokes, Barb, this is fascinating. Just wonderful work and I especially like that swimming woman. Couldn't help thinking of the pain of production!


03-21-2003, 10:43 PM
OHhhhhhhh l love sidewalk artist!!!! I fell in love with Art because of peeps like this!!!!!!! I first experienced viewing them in Barcelona, Spain...I was only 14 and vowed that I wanted to paint like that somedayyyyy!!!!
In Spain the artist do smaller squares and they set out hats and tin cans for tips while they worked! :D Saw my first Mona lisa represented that way;)

You post away kiddo .... I love them!!
and look at allllllll the talent WOW!

03-21-2003, 11:13 PM

Thanks so much for sharing this ... it must of been something to see in person. When is the next one in San Fran. Ca?


03-22-2003, 12:23 AM
I understand this is done annually in San Francisco at the North Beach Italian Festival in June (though not where this was photographed, as well as in San Rafael, California (just north of us a little bit) in June too.

If you look up arte di gesso and San Francisco - you'll find some links.

Pretty cool stuff!


03-22-2003, 12:33 AM
Thanks for sharing these, Barb, they're wonderful.

It doesn't surprise me so much that artists work so hard on pictures that won't last; in Ottawa they make ice sculptures every year that won't last the week if the weather turns mild.

Sidewalks, after all, are meant to be walked on. Even if you sealed the pictures, imagine what they would look like after a few days of footprints, rain, mud, dog-doo-doo, etc. In cold climates, add months of snow and salt.

The artists probably enjoy the scale, the challenge, the fun of an outdoor event, and the exposure.

What stuns me is they do it in pastel, not chalk. Of course, sidewalk chalk won't give them the same range of colours, but ....$$$$$$$$$$:eek: One thing about ice - it's free!

03-22-2003, 03:33 AM
Barb, It has all been said but thanks for giving a peek at this beautiful work!! Gerry